Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Labor double whammy for NSW pre-schoolers

More than 3500 childcare places could be freed up in NSW if the Iemma Labor Government funded pre-schools to the same rate as other states.

Families and Community Services Minister Mal Brough said the Iemma Government spends the least amount of money on children’s services of any state in Australia – and slugs parents the highest pre-school fees in the nation.

"NSW spends about $100 per child per year on children’s services, including pre-school, which is the lowest of any state or territory," Mr Brough said.

"By comparison, South Australia spends $460 per child per year.

"The NSW Government is taking shortcuts on education and care by forcing many parents to pay high fees; up to $30 per day in community run pre-schools.

"This compares to average pre-school fees across Australia ranging form $2 to $12 per day.

"We could free up at least 3500 childcare places for other children if Labor spent more money in state-run pre-schools."

Mr Brough said many families were turning to long day care as an alternative to pre-schools in NSW.

"A greater investment in pre-school will make it more affordable and attractive to parents, which would then free up more child care places for working families," he said.

NSW has 424,000 children aged under five, which is more than any other state or territory in Australia.

Mr Brough said Federal Labor’s ill-conceived plan on childcare would see private providers – at taxpayer expense – build centres instead of NSW meeting its obligation.

He congratulated Liberal Leader Peter Debnam over the release of his comprehensive plan this week to help fix part of Labor’s mess.

Preschool for Four Year Olds in Australia
State Children’s Services Preschool
State/ Territory Spending per child (03/04) AG Spending per child (03/04) Descriptor Average Fees (% above $20 per week) Enrolment rates of 4 year olds (03/04) Relevant Formal Qual. (03/04)
NSW $100 $444 Pre-school 12.5 hrs/wk 73 % 59.1 % 56.9 %
VIC $132 $427 Pre-school 10hrs/wk 15 % 96.0 % 46.4 %
QLD $210 $754 KindergartenUp to 12.5 hrs /wk 36 % 98.1 % 59.0 %
WA $172 $413 Kindergarten 11 hrs/wk N/a 96.3 % 50.0 %
SA $459 $543 Kindergarten 11 hrs/wk N/a 95.1 % 59.3 %
TAS $271 $440 Kindergarten 10 hrs/wk N/a 101.0 % N/a
ACT $393 $475 Pre-school 10.5 hrs/wk N/a 83.6 % 50.7 %
NT $524 $697 Pre-school 12 hrs/wk N/a 81.4 % 68.6 %